The 40th Ordinary General Assembly of EAHM took place in Zurich before the official opening ceremony of the 23rd EAHM Congress: Roadmap to Top Quality. The General Assembly focused mainly on two topics: The President's activity report for 2009-2010, including the results of the reflection group on the future and evolution of EAHM, and the election of the President, Vice-President and the Executive Committee for the next four years (2010-2014).
Mr. Castel declared the General Assembly officially open and thanked the Swiss organising committee for their hard work in the run up to the congress. Before giving his activity report for the past year, the agenda for the General Assembly was approved as were the minutes of the previous assembly.
The Activity Report
Speaking about his four years as President of EAHM, Mr. Castel highlighted the creation of the statutes of the organisation as one of his key achievements. This was a considerable amount of work but a lot of progress has been made in how the association is organised and run. EAHM must now define a clear service policy and become more visible, improving communication within the association but also with other actors in the European hospital sector. Efficiency and productivity must also improve, especially considering the current economic situation.
Firstly, the report reiterated the importance and success of the 2009 seminar "Towards a balanced cooperation of public and private actors". Mr. Castel noted that as hospital directors we are facing more and more competition between hospitals and that management now has an increased economic context. Although there are differences between public and private hospitals there are also many similarities including political choices and the need for ethical management.
His second point concerned the profession of hospital director. This was one of the main goals of his presidency: the examination of this dimension for the association. Although still in its early stages, a reflection group was set up a few months ago examining the role of EAHM. Determining that it must be a utility for hospital managers and younger managers of the future. EAHM is also asking its national associations to be vigilant and to focus on younger managers in their associations. EAHM recognises the need to prepare and educate the hospital managers of the future.
The Executive Committee validated a plan of action the day before the congress. This plan includes defining the modern hospital, improving communication between directors, and training and education. Mr Castel stated that the next EAHM congress in Greece in two years from now will be an opportunity to work on this.
Mr. Castel finished his activity report by thanking the Board Members, Executive Committee, Secretary General, his office and everyone who helped him during the four years. The report was accepted unanimously.
Tendering of Accounts and Budget
EAHM was affected by the financial crisis, as were the national associations. Revenue from membership fees was lower as some countries experienced financial and structural difficulties. The official journal (E)Hospital also faced difficulties. Consequently their contribution was lower than expected. The quality has nonetheless been upheld and the board thank the editor and team.
Concerning expenditures, EAHM tried to cut costs without having to reduce activities. There was a 3.44 percent saving. The accounts were approved by an external auditor. The internal auditors, Ms. Pellerin (Luxembourg) and Mr. Timmermans (the Netherlands) gave their report and the 2009 accounts were unanimously approved. Both reports are available on the website.
The financial needs of EAHM are increasing. Cost of personnel (travel and accommodation) is increasing and the office of the General Secretariat is in need of restructurisation. Therefore the Board proposes an increase in personnel costs, this includes an extra 2,000 euro in the budget for travel expenses. Moreover, new programmes and the need for more subcommittee and board meetings will also increase costs.
Mr. Heuschen stressed that although more needs to be financed, EAHM will not take financial risks. The association will only spend what it receives and does not want to raise membership fees. This new method of financing will be through a forum, a partner's forum with the industry. Companies have approached the association and requested an exchange. Therefore a forum will be set up and the industry will pay for this privilege. This will offset the expenses. The national associations have agreed to help with this.
Questions were then opened to the floor. Jean Luc Chassaniol (France) expressed his concern about the increase in personnel fees and asked why it was so high and was also concerned about sponsorship making up a third of the budget. Mr Castel responded that increased personnel expenditure has only arisen due to the increase in activities. Regarding sponsoring, the Executive Committee has agreed that only money already received will be spent. The Budget and Membership fees were then approved unanimously. The auditors for 2010 were proposed and elected and it was decided that there would be no admission or exclusion of members this year.
After the activity report attendees of the General Assembly were invited to place their votes for the new President, Vice- President and Executive Committee. Mr. Heuschen explained that names had been nominated by each national association and also the Executive Committee. A ballot was then collected and taken to be counted and verified by two members of the Executive Committee, Asger Hansen and Manuel Delgado.